From 5:00am to 10:00pm, most of us have our days planned to the minute. Our schedules are perfect and nothing stands in our way. Okay, no. That is not real life. But we do make sure the important things get done—work, training, family/friend time, and so on. What often gets lost in that mix, however, is what we’re putting into our bodies. Fast food or a less-than-impressive sandwich is all we can fit into our routine sometimes. The old cliché used in almost every food-centric blog post—you are what you eat—is overused for a reason: It’s just so true! So today, let’s work on getting that under control. Let’s talk about meal planning.
We sat down with Thomas Cox, a CrossFit fanatic, entrepreneur, and owner of MealFit, a meal prep and planning business helping folks make sure they are getting nutritious meals to fuel the rest of their day. We asked, what makes what we eat so important? As long as we’re “hitting our macros”, who cares about the rest, right? Thomas broke it down like this: If you are in the gym six or eight hours a week, that’s a lot. If you spend 30 minutes at each meal, that’s 10.5 hours of eating each week. One definitely impacts the other. He said, “The food we eat dictates what we look like and how we perform.”
MealFit is based in Cookeville, TN, with another location opening in Alabama in the coming months. For locals, they offer the option to stop in and pick up a ready-made Paleo dinner for the fam. For everyone else, they offer weekly menus with complete nutrition information and a grocery list. The idea here is to save time and guesswork by getting the planning done up front. If you know what’s prepped and ready for breakfast, you’re less likely to hit up the vending machine or drive-through line on the way to the office. Thomas also includes practical measures, such as cooking double portions for dinners so that lunch is handled for the next day and making snacks ahead of time so you’ll know what you’ll be munching on between meals.
So, what can you do to get ready? Of course, have a pro take care of this for you. If that’s not your bag (we still say that, right?), you can follow some of these helpful tips:
- Get a calendar – The one on your phone or tablet is fine. The magnetic-marker-board-fridge thing? That’s good, too. Plan out the week’s meals. If you don’t know what you’ll eat ahead of time, you’re setting yourself up for those last-minute left turns at the fast food joint.
- Sunday, Prep Day – Agreed, it does not have the appeal of “Sunday Fun Day,” but you’ll get a lot more out of it. What makes a healthy dinner take so long to cook on Tuesday night? Chopping, cutting -- all the prep! At a minimum, get everything ready to cook and packaged in the fridge. Then, all you have to do for dinner is cook!
- Cook and package – Most things are going to be just fine cooked and refrigerated for several days. Grab a few divided containers and plate-up lunches for the week. Pop those bad boys in the fridge and grab one on the way out the door like you would one of those salty, empty-carb-heavy frozen jobs you’ll no longer need to buy!
- Can’t stop, won’t stop – We’ve all missed a workout or a training session. And that was the day we completely gave up on our athletic aspirations, right? Of course not! But that is often how we react to a slip up in the nutrition department. If you drop the ball one day and leave your prepped bacon-wrapped chicken breast with cinnamon sweet potatoes and lemon/garlic asparagus at home, don’t feel bad! If you slip off to grab a burger at the restaurant across from the office, the world won’t end. But get back on track tomorrow. One more cliché, if I may—it’s just like riding a bike. Only less dangerous.
We love what Thomas and the folks at MealFit are doing to help people save time and eat meals that will help them achieve their goals. And for those of you who assume this whole meal-prep gig is five days of roasted chicken breast and steamed broccoli, check yourself. If you’re a regular reader of our blog, you’ll remember our feature from National Chocolate Chip Day (still can’t believe that’s a thing) where Thomas and HOTSHOT ambassador Shalane Flanagan shared some great, prep-ahead snack ideas. Meal prep isn’t designed to limit your options, but to make sure you’re getting real, wholesome food in our body. Shalane and Thomas both have cookbooks full of healthy, performance-minded recipes that are great to prep ahead of time. The big idea is really simple: plan, prep, and eat great food!
Are you already a diehard meal-prepping machine? New to the idea? Share your story with us. We’re pretty much wherever you are—on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Let us know if you have some great recipes or tips for prepping meals. If your nutrition game is strong but your cramp prevention is weak, come see us right here to pick up your order of HOTSHOT, the only product scientifically proven to both treat and prevent muscle cramps.